At the final Internet for All webinar on June 2, 2022, National Telecommunications and Information Association representatives addressed several specifics of the Digital Equity Act program.
The Notice of Funding Opportunity released May 13, 2022, outlines the details of the allocation of $2.75 billion to promote digital equity and inclusion that is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In particular, the webinar focused on the first $60 million that states will use to develop a state digital equity plan.
To participate in the planning program, states must submit applications by July 12, 2022. The application must include a certification that the state will submit a digital equity plan within one year.
The plan must include 15 key points listed in the NOFO. Key points include identifying specific barriers that covered populations are facing when trying to achieve digital equity; providing an analysis of how the objectives will impact the State’s economic, workforce, health, and education goals; a description on how regional, municipal and tribal digital plans are incorporated; and material on how the state will coordinate with the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment funding.
States may propose a variety of digital inclusion plans that will be implemented with the capacity grant fund issued following the planning stage. These plans may include pursuing digital inclusion activities, facilitating adoption of broadband, and providing equipment and software for broadband services.